On what would have been her 97th birthday, Edna Lewis was remembered for her remarkable life and legacy April 13th at a celebration organized by the Edna Lewis Foundation.
Ms. Lewis, who passed away in 2006, brought Southern cuisine to the national stage and influenced generations of Southern and African American chefs.
On Saturday members and supporters of the Edna Lewis foundation enjoyed a five-course meal inspired by Ms. Lewis. In attendance were Ruth Lewis Smith and Mattie Scott, Ms. Lewis’ sister and niece, and John Henry Thurston, Ms. Lewis’ cousin. Throughout the evening her family and the chefs shared stories of Ms. Lewis and her love of cooking.
During the cocktail hour guests were served duck confit and dried fruit empanadas, smoked salmon BLTs, pickled seafood served in a mason jar and cornbread bites stuffed with crab and smoked gouda, created by Chef Charlie Hatney of the City Club of Buckhead.
Chef Art Smith shared his stories about Edna Lewis as guests enjoyed a Bourbon and Virginia ham tasting with Southern Art’s Mixologist Clay Livingston and Executive Chef Tim McGee.
The first course was a roasted kabocha squash and gala apple soup prepared by Chef Kevin Mitchell of the Culinary Institute of Charleston. Cardamom crème fraiche and prosciutto cracklings added additional flavors to the rich soup.
For the second course Chef Todd Richards of The Shed at Glenwood served lamb belly with roasted garlic hummus and pickled radishes.
The third course was a salad of arugula and frisee with creole cured salmon, parsnips and pecans with a Bourbon vinaigrette prepared by Chef Duane Nutter, Executive Chef at One Flew South.
The fourth course was a thyme & rosemary crusted pheasant breast from Chef Darryl Evans of the City Club at Buckhead. It was served with a Hoppin John rice cake and kale and mustard greens ragout.
For dessert Chef Jennifer Booker of Your Resident Gourmet served a decadent lemon chèvre cheesecake with blackberry sorbet.
The mission of the Edna Lewis Foundation is to honor, cultivate and preserve the rich African American culinary history by offering a variety of events and programs designed to educate, inspire and entertain, and promote a deeper understanding of Southern culinary culture and heritage. It was founded in January 2012 by Chef Joe Randall of Chef Joe Randall’s Cooking School in Savannah. For more information on the foundation visit www.ednalewisfoundation.org.
Credit for first photo: Angela Hatney